Religion, Culture and the Challenges of Change

November 11, 2010
Challenges of Change Symposium

Thoraya Obaid, Mahnaz Afkhami, &
Yakin Ertürk at "Challenges of Change"
Photos on Flickr | Videos on YouTube

You don't dialogue where the doors are closed; you dialogue where there's a window.
-- Thoraya Obaid

Challenges of Change: Religion, Secularism & Rights
Panel 1: Chaired by Frances Kissling, Speakers Thoraya Obaid and Yakin Ertürk

Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for a Free Choice, said people's understanding of rights evolves over time and is understood differently not only by different cultures, but also within cultures. The absence of women from decision-making throughout history and across cultures has impacted our understanding of rights today.

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, warned that progress in changing those rights, especially women's rights, is halting and difficult. "Human rights and culture collide around issues of gender," she said.

When a society is structured only according to shared values, the result is social continuity and a culture of domination by one group over another, said Yakin Ertürk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. When values are in competition – as between parents and children, citizens and the state, men and women, and the state versus the international community – they create openings for change and a culture of protest. "The human rights framework provides tools for the women's movement that we have not fully utilized," she said.

 

Photos on Flickr | Videos on YouTube

 




"Challenges of Change" Panel 1
Frances Kissling

"Challenges of Change" Panel 1
Thoraya Obaid

"Challenges of Change" Panel 1
Yakin Ertürk

 




"Challenges of Change" Panel 1
Yakin Ertürk

"Challenges of Change" Panel 1
Q & A

"Challenges of Change" Panel 1
Q & A

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